Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Is life over?

Mamma's Reflections

Fall has arrived. And our front yard has been dressed with fall flowers and a white pumpkin. I love Fall and everything about it. The colors, the clothes and the smell. Here is the US, especially, Fall is magical! I love that everything is pumpkin and cinnamon.
With the arrival of Fall, new thoughts have also come into my life. Mostly about a new challenge. Here it goes!
I am a very ambitious woman. Motherhood is my biggest challenge yet. Ambitions and motherhood seem to be an oxymoron, and every day is a struggle to find the balance. So I began to ask myself, can you be ambitous and a great mom at the same time? As always, I set myself up to prove that YES!, it is possible. However, the reality is quite different, and although I have yet to reach the proven conclusion, I feel the path towards achieving my ambitions is going to be rough.
Maybe not all of you feel the same way, but many are the times that plans, projects, ideas and actions must take the back seat because....I need to pump, or I need to go home for a feeding and don't want to waste a perfectly stored freezer bottle, or I just want to go to sleep. Many are the times where I appear at a meeting perfectly composed, while my mind is spinning because I am calculating every second before the next pumping session. Many times, I set appointment pretending that my schedule is wide open and ready to accommodate clients needs while in reality I die inside at the thought of having to rush everything so to pump in the car. Many times I stand tall next to my male coworkers so to appear in control, ready for the action, while I would love to crawl in a corner and take a nap. So, when it comes to ambitions, every single extra step, sacrifice, schedule adjustment counts toward reaching my goals. The killer? Have no sympathy from fellow women. I don't pretend much. Just the usual common courtesy would suffice. Instead, motherhood has opened my eyes to the true nature of those around me, especially in the professional world. Believe me, I am not trying to criticize anyone, but once I have become a mother, it is as if I was automatically placed in a different category. One that can be easily forgotten. And so, I keep going on. On my path towards achieving my goals. The kicker? Since Maya has entered my life, the blessing shave been falling on me left and right. Doors have been opened, and opportunities have come my way. Bringing a child to this world has proven to be a service to humanity, and I am convinced that the blessings I am given are a direct result of responsibility of nurturing a soul. 
Therefore, life is NOT over. It has just changed. and it is heading in a new direction. Adjustments are part of the process.

What it is new with Baby Maya?

Maya is almost 9 months and growing at a speed that shocks us every day. We have a little soon to be 9 month old going on 20. She is wearing clothes fit for a 12 month old. Her feet are fitting sizes for 18 month olds, and her head....well...99 percentile should tell you all about it!
I think we have a a giant in the making. Which is pretty cool, if you ask me!
She can be the tallest president of the US (can you see Mamma's ambitions?)

What's cooking?

It has been fun cooking these days. I get to experiment baby food! So far Maya has not rejected anything we have placed in front of her. Not even a lime! In fact she loved licking a lime. If she could she would eat steak.

So I have been making a lot of veggies.
And experimeting with Pinterest recipes fit for a mother with no time...
See?? Pumpkin Spice muffins with only TWO ingredients.

Happy Parenting!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Giving up or Prioritize

Mamma's Thoughts

If you are a mother, chances are you are faced with many decisions on a daily basis. If you are a working mother, those decisions often have to deal with choosing between work related events/opportunity and motherhood related duties. How do you make the decision? Which one do you prioritize. One would argue that the choice is easy. A mother will always choose family, right? I guess, I agree, as I find myself making that choice on a daily basis. But what are the costs? and more importantly, how to do handle avoiding being left behind?
I have learned very quickly, once I got back to work full time, how my professional network did not have my back. How those that want to get ahead will get ahead without thinking about what the consequences may be for other. So, I started thinking, what does a mother do in these situations? What are the best approaches so to continue the climb on the career ladder, without compromising your integrity, values and reputation (unlike others)? I have to tell you, I have yet to find an answer. I choose very carefully what opportunities are "worth" prioritizing at the sake of my family and what opportunities I can miss. It is not always black and white, but I remind myself that the priority is always family. As result, I have no regrets when making my choices.
However, in dealing with such a puzzle, one has to face the fact that the chance of being left behind is more likely than not. Therefore, the fight to constantly stay afloat continues.
Have you ever experienced being left behind? Or see the fruits of your labor taken? How did you handle it? How do you make your career/motherhood decisions?

What is new with Baby Maya

Maya is growing. fast. She is now 8 months old and we cannot believe how fast time has gone by. It is unbelievable to think that 9 months of pregnancy and 8 months of her life have already passed and that we are approaching the one year mark. In other news, Maya's first fall is coming up and I am so excited. I love American Fall. The smell of pumpkin, cinnamon and maple everywhere you go is something that I love and cannot wait to share with Maya. Plus, Halloween is going to be fun and pumpkin pie eating and pumpkin carving are going to be a top priority. In preparation of fall, we picked some pumpkins for decorations. Here is Maya with her picks!

What's for dinner?

Well, nothing exciting, except that Mamma and Papa' finally got a chance to a night out. We had a wedding to go to and were lucky enough to have grandma and grandpa babysit (first time!). Here we are all glamorized.

Mamma's Tips

If you are into crafts (or Pinterest!) chances are that you have compiled a list of things you want to do for your nursery, chld bedroom, child album etc. Well, I had my eyes on a cool project that I found of Etsy. I thought $35 for it was not too bad...until...the idea of not having to pay anything became even more appealing. And so, I decided to make it myself. This is what I made:

I love the idea of framing the Baby's birth info. And I had seen the idea on Etsy. It was so so easy to make. I used Microsoft Word, and WordArt. Cannot wait to frame it. You can make it with any information you wish to include. You can personalize it with your favorite colors, nursery colors or baby girl/baby boy colors. It is fun and it takes only 20 minutes!

Happy Parenting!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Balancing Act

Mamma's Reflections

As the days pass, I quickly realized why they compare the job of a mother to a full time CEO position. From the moment you wake up, you have to manage, direct, plan, organize and prepare the whole day, week, month. You have deadlines, you have expectations, your team depends on your decisions, your actions and your executive role. Breaks are seldom and the need for down time, well, a dream.  Little by little, you begin to miss the activities you once enjoyed, and you realize that you have to get back into the swing of things before you are buried deep into the ground. Crafting, cooking, baking, beauty regime, can become a thing of the past, if, as CEO, you don't make the executive decision to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST.
Motherhood the contrary of selfishness. You tend to put everyone else first (although at the end of the day, you are still criticized by media, society and everyone else who thinks they can do it better). 
But, I learned that if I take care of myself, I can take better care of my family.
If I am happy and, really, feeling human, then I can make you believe that everything is under control and that I have mastered my balancing act. And so, as I try to do it all, I find moments of accomplishments, of joy and of self-gratification, as I convince myself that...I can do it all!

What is new with baby Maya

Maya continues to grow. Teeth have made their grand entrance and they have left their mark on Mamma. Literally! Who said that biting gets the milk out faster! Oh the tears that I shed the first time those little pearly whites dug into my skin. And so every time I nurse, I start with a little prayer and the hope that milk and not blood will be the nourishing food for my little vampire! Speaking of food....I am slowly becoming a master of food freezing.
I purchased this, and it makes my life so much easier.
Each cube holds exactly 1ounces of frozen food, which makes it easy to know how much food is Maya eating.

{Frozen bananas}

{I made carrots, and green beans. This is the finished product. Frozen. 
I then stored it in ziplock bags.}

{You can even mix two types of food together}

The great advantage is that the ziplock bags will stack up nicely and neatly without any mess!

Mamma's Tip

Weight Loss. Today is about weight loss. I have been on the Weight Watcher's plan for 5 months now.
I have lost a total of lb22 and I am 5 pounds away from pre-baby weight. BUT! Pregnancy has shifted my meat around. I have retained weight in places I did not have meat before. Lost in other and overall gained under the belly button...after all....that area...was...stretched for 9 months.
Anyway, not to panic!Weight Watcher's has worked perfectly because they have a nursing plan. So i eat a lot, I don't feel like I am dieting and I shed the pounds.
HOWEVER, my muscles have also gone bye bye.
So here is my tip: Mammas around the world, you MUST workout to get back into shape. 
You cannot escape the fact that you need physical activity. Picking up baby is great for your biceps, but not enough!
This is what you do:

1) Sign up with the GYM. Check your insurance. many have wellness programs that cover gym memberships partially. It costs me only $36 a month to be part of the gym.

2) Schedule a meeting with the gym trainer. You always get two free hours. USE THEM!
They will make a weight training designed specifically for you! Tell them how much time you have in the gym. Tell them you are a monther and don't have two hours to waste. They will create a circuit that is so tight and we will work all your muscles fast and efficiently.

3) You make time to go to the gym. Sometimes it may not work out. It is ok! But use the daddy-baby time in your advantage and go!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

immediate or growing l.o.v.e.?

Mamma's Reflections 

When we found out we were expecting, the number of unsolicited suggestions/advice came down pouring on us. Apart from all the "oh, your life will never be the same" lines, we also got "As soon as you will hold the baby in your arms, you will feel overwhelmed with love and you will understand everything your parents have gone through." Uhm? Ok, so when I held Maya for the first time, tears came down. Sure, they were tears of happiness but I did not feel the "overwhelming love" that everyone kept talking about. Mamma's instinct had definitely kicked in, but the never-felt-before-love? Not so much.
In fact, when we got home, things went down hill.
Post partum kicked in.
Exhaustion from sleepless nights kept growing.
Cries would not stop.
Feedings were happening so often, that I did not feel human anymore.
Ya right! Love was the last thing on my mind. 
All I wanted was for things to get back to the way they were. Normal. With a lot of sleep.
Instead, my life has been changed for ever, as all those premonitions had promised. But the rewarding feeling of love had yet to make its grand entrance.
7 MONTHS LATER...things are totally different.
I love Maya more now than I did 7 months ago.
My heart has expanded with every day that she has been in our lives, and the expected love has entered our lives little by little and it is growing every day.
Sometimes, I wonder how it is even possible to love so much, and care/worry/stress/work so much for a someone else. It is so true that the arrival of Maya has changed our has thought us a new level of love.

What's for dinner

We have been busy this week and I did not take too many pictures of the dinners we made.
Recently, however, I made this

Photo: Soba noodles stir fry!

{Soba Noodles with Chicken, Snow Peas, Grape Tomatoes and fresh Ginger}
We are big on cooking. I love to cook. It relaxes me. So when it comes to dinner, I don't see as a chore. It is almost me time. It allows my creativity to flow.
Soba Noodles are made with buckwheat. Thus, wholesome. Nutritious. Filling.  Just cook it like according to the package and toss it with your favorite protein and veggies ( I sauteed onions, snow peas and ginger in olive oil, and added the grape tomatoes at the end), and your favorite seasoning.
It is super easy!

What is new with Baby Maya

We went on a hike and a picnic last weekend. It was so much fun. A great way to show a curious baby what is going on around her. But it also a great way to get a good workout and spend time together.  This is where he hiked.

And this is us facing the last part of the hike.

Maya (and the stroller!) was such a trooper. 
 After the hike, we eat lunch.
This is what I had packed for the picnic.

Spicy Lemon Chicken Wraps.

I am currently on Weight Watchers, so I packed the portions according to
 our respective points allowance. Here my wrap.

I also packed Maya's sweet peas lunch so that she would eat at the same time we were.

Mamma's tip
If you go on a hike and are concerned about bugs, clip this to the stroller (not directly at the baby.)

It creates a barrier around the immediate vicinity and the bugs will not bother you. If you are on the move, it is a bit less efficient, but overall not a bad solution if you don't want to spray baby's bug spray. We also had the stroller's net, just in case.

Happy bug free hikes!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rigid Routine or Flexible Schedule

Mamma's Reflections

The one thing your hear from the moment you hold your baby for the first time is...babies like routine. They should not call it routine. They should call it groundhog day! You basically live the same day over and over and over and over again, for months, after months, after months. It got me thinking! All this talk about routine...does it mean that we should give up every little bit of possible fun that we have left over? Are routines so important? Well, as a mother, I will tell you, YES! Routines are important if you want to keep some sanity. When you follow a routine, you know that the awaited hour of sleeping baby is fast approaching and that you will be able to enjoy passing out from exhaustion. So, yes, routines are good. BUT, I refuse to give up my life because of routines.Thankfully, Maya is very cooperative and allows us to go place and do things we enjoy. However, we are also mindful of her needs, and we will not kill ourselves if she goes to bed without her bath or if she eats a little bit earlier than usually or sleeps a little bit later than normal. Believe me, the routine will not be broken because of a couple of sidetracks. And so our lives go on, one groundhog day at a time.

What is for dinner?

During this past week, my routine involved some cooking. I was able to get home early every day and take care of chores, including the daily dinner, so that we could spend good quality time with Maya.
This is what it is has been on the menu.

{boneless, skinless chicken thighs with Turmeric, Salt, Pepper, Sauteed Red Onions, Tomato Sauce to give it some red color, and a side of Dill Persian Rice}
Thanks to the dinner prep, as soon as Maya and Eric arrived home, we were able to go and take a look at some cars. We need a bigger car.

A couple of days ago, I was finally able to tap into the bread mix I had bought from Ikea. The package looked good and the preparation was super easy. Add water and shake vigorously for 45 seconds. The result? See below!

{Can you see the various kernels? I love love love these types of breads and this was pretty good for being an Ikea packaged food}
Anyway, the previous day, I was able to make some Adas Polo ( Persian Dish) which turned out to be so yummy! Thanks to the large quantity, both Eric and I had lunch for the following day.

What is new with Baby Maya? 

Maya is going to be a foodie like her mom. She eats everything! Likes to try everything and is always curious about colors, textures and tastes. Recently, I gave her some cucumber to gnaw on. Boy she loved it! 

I think the coolness of the cucumber and the easy chewing texture soothed her gums!
Also baby Maya likes to sit up and look around. Here we are at Costco.

{Product Info: Maya is sitting on the Floppy Deluxe Seat Cover. It is awesome, and its plush lining keeps her warm everytime we are close to the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It is an expensive item, so make sure you get it on the baby shower list!}

Home Made Baby Food

As mentioned in another post, I try to stay away from already prepared food, and I make everything that Maya eats myself. I even made the oatmeal cereal so that she does not need to eat that powdery dust that looks like wood saw.  Plus, making your own food is so much cheaper and it makes you feel more accomplished.
Here is what you need:

{Place oatmeal in blender. Pulse to reach the coarse level you like.}

 I decided to leave some chunkier pieces so that Maya can have fun learning how to chew.
This is how it looks.

Store the oatmeal in a Tupperware container and keep it in your pantry for when you needed.

We are going on a picnic and hike this weekend.
This busy mom decided that a regular sandwich was not going to cut it!
 So she made Spicy Lemon Chicken wraps. 
Here is what you need:

Chicken breasts ( I Cubed it)
red pepper flakes
Olive oil
Lemon ( I added lime and a splash of balsamic Vinegar)
Frank's hot sauce
grape tomatoes
wraps ( I buy the whole wheat flat bread with no sugar added, from Costso)
field greens

Here is the marinade. More to come!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Day care blues

Happy Friday everyone!
For those of you who work, yay! The weekend is here. And for those who stay at home, yay! The weekend is here, time for Dad to take over. ;-)
By the time Friday comes around, my To Do list has reached infinite length. However, motherhood is teaching me, unsuccessfully thus far, to be patient. And so my list for the weekend includes the following:

1) Cleaning
2) Decorating
3) Scrapbooking
4) Organizing
5) Car shopping
6) Swimming Pool time
7) Grocery Shopping
8) Pictures organizing

However, I have To Do List intruders who keep me off track...I have two meeting this weekend, for which I have to prepare. I also have Maya to feed, although THANK GOD for dads! And then, unfortunately, I have to sleep! I wish i did not have to sleep...


So on Wednesday, our day care provider informs us that she needs to change all the cribs because they all have to be compliant with the new federal regulations. ( So far all is well). Then she says, she would like parents to buy the cribs. (Blood pressure rising). She continues by stating that she cannot afford buying all new cribs (eyebrows start to frown).  By the time she was done, I wanted to scream. I said, "let me talk to my husband and I will let you know."

As soon as I sat in the car and I called Eric, the lawyer in me came out full force!


Anyway, I was so disappointed at the request, since as a business owner, the purchasing of cribs is a business expenses. She should calculate it in her fee. Plus, 6 kids at $225 a do the math!

I felt as if I was the only mother who was even thinking that the request was absurd. Thankfully, I met another mother, as she was leaving, and I asked her what she thought. I found out that we shared the same thinking but that she decided not to express it. I on the other hand was going to make sure that I was heard!

Finally, reasoning kicked in and I realized this: It is important to share with the day care provides your expectations, concerns and hopes and also your DISAPPOINTMENTS. I shared with our day care provider that I did not feel the request was just, and that we should not bear the cost. However, I also told her that  I have no problem buying a crib for Maya. We will buy it BUT it is our crib to keep. Therefore, once Maya will stop going to day care we will take it back. Problem solved!

What would you have done?
Are you ready to stand up for your belief?
What if you are going to be the only one who thinks that way?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

longing for time together

If you are a mother, you probably count the minutes to the moment in which your little one wakes up, so you can snuggle with him/her, and you count the minutes to the moment you return home where you can wait for the return from day care. From the moment I arrive at work, I count the seconds until I get to go home. I usually arrive before Maya and Eric arrive, and it is always so much fun to hide behind the door, see how Maya looks around and then pop in front of her. There is always a moment of pause. As if her eyes need a second to focus on the person who is standing in front of her and then......BAM! A huge smile, legs banging, arms shaking, and the desire to talk! It is my absolute favorite moment. Nobody. Has. Ever. Been. So. Happy. To. See. Me! We then snuggle. Play. Change. and go out for a walk. Today this is what we saw.

We walked for an hour. It was such a perfect walk. It is such a wonderful feeling to have such a curious human being. Her stares and head turns make me notice things that have not noticed before or I had forgotten about!

Once at home, the evening routine began, except that we were about 30 minutes behind schedule. Thankfully, I am not strict with time. Maya and I stopped at our HOA meeting (probably the last time I ever go! They only argued!) While eating, and while Eric was feeding Maya, I managed to squeeze in a small art project! And the irony....melamine was used!

This is the easiest thing that everyone can do it! Melamine plate and a clock from Target! Less that $10! I will add a couple smaller plates soon but in the mean time....our dining room has a dressed clock!

Happy Thursday everyone!